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Ticks Out In Full Force; Experts Warn Of High Lyme Disease Case Load

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- As you head out to enjoy this weekend's beautiful weather, experts are warning people to be careful. Ticks are already out in full force and more of them may be carrying Lyme disease.

They're teeny, tiny and can get into everything and if you don't get checked out early, they can make you really sick.

Ann Chao, who suffered from Lyme disease 2 years in a row, can certainly attest to that.

"It was so painful, it hurt so much. I couldn't do anything. I couldn't even drive the car...I had no muscle, no strength," Chao told CBS 2's Rachel Stockman.

Lyme disease expert Dr. Gary Wormser predicts a very high case load this year because of the warmer weather and last year's outbreak of disease carrying white-footed mice.

"We decided to keep our clinic open four nights a week, instead of three nights a week in expectation of higher number of cases," he said.

Early symptoms of the disease are mild and easily missed, but you should look out for a rash, near the site of a tick bite. The rash can sometimes look like a bulls-eye, can be hot to the touch and even cause fevers.

Ticks also carry other dangerous diseases so if you don't develop a rash, but feel achy or feverish after being bitten, people should see a doctor right away.

Instead of the hiking trails, many folks said they are sticking to the pavement this weekend even though the height of tick season usually doesn't hit until June and July.

"My wife and I, when we got done with hiking, found ticks on our body," said hiker Keith Stransky.

So if you're head out on the trails this weekend, be prepared with long pants and sleeves and an inspection when you get back.

Have you ever dealt with Lyme disease?  Share your experience in the comments section...

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